These European river cruises depart in the summer of 2021



SShortly after European Union leaders agreed on May 19 to allow fully vaccinated travelers, including Americans, to enter Europe this summer, river cruise lines announced plans to resume navigation along panoramic inland waterways of Europe.

Although most EU leaders have yet to define the details of their reopening plans, including what will be needed for American travelers to enter Europe in terms of COVID-19 vaccination and / or d ‘eventual testing requirements, river cruise lines are no longer waiting.

“Demand for river cruises is at an all-time high,” said Ellen Bettridge, president and CEO of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, in a statement about the river cruise company’s return to sailing in 2021.

If cruising along the legendary Danube in Europe, drinking wine on the Seine in France, glimpsing castles along the Rhine, or browsing the Douro vineyards in Portugal seems like the perfect getaway, you’re in luck.

Cruise lines that will ply European rivers this summer and beyond include:

  • AmaWaterways
  • Avalon Waterways
  • Emerald Cruises
  • Scenic luxury cruises and tours
  • Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
  • Viking River Cruises

European river cruises sailing in 2021, 2022 and beyond

Here’s what each of the European river cruise lines have planned so far.


On May 21, AmaWaterways announced its return to European rivers on July 3, with departures from Portugal.

After that, the company will resume cruises on all of the European rivers it travels throughout the month of July and start sailing the Danube with its largest and most impressive ship, the 196 passengers. AmaMagna, July 21, 2021.

As for what passengers will need to navigate, AmaWaterways is waiting for the European Union to finalize its entry conditions.

“As we make our return to the rivers, we will continue to monitor updates from global health authorities, local governments and airlines regarding entry requirements. In the coming days, we will provide more information on the specific documentation needed to navigate with us, ”said AmaWaterways President and Co-Founder Rudi Schreiner.

This elegant river cruise company, which places a strong emphasis on its gastronomic and wine program, is an AFAR Travelers’ Choice winner for the best river cruise company, and its co-founders have been honored by the AFAR Vanguard 2019 for the deep touch. personal they bring to the river cruise experience. AmaWaterways has a fleet of 25 vessels on the rivers of Europe, as well as the Mekong in Southeast Asia, the Chobe River in southern Africa and the Nile in Egypt.

For a truly epic river cruise itinerary, it might be worth waiting until June 1, 2023, when AmaWaterways will embark on its longest river cruise ever, the “Seven River Journey Through Europe”. The 46-night experience will take 144 guests through 14 countries on four different ships. Rates start at $ 25,999 per person.

The route will sail on the Seine, the Saône and the Rhône in France; the Rhine, the Moselle and the Main through Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; and the final navigation will be along the Danube from Germany, through Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and will end in Romania.

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways, which is owned by the tourism powerhouse of the Globus family of brands, runs many European river cruises in July, August and September 2021. Avalon offers cruises ranging from short 4-day cruises, to several countries 18 – day cruises along the Danube and Rhine, among other European waterways.

One of the line’s most exciting offerings for 2021 and 2022 is its new series of storytellers, itineraries brought to life by authors and musicians. The first is a weeklong Rhine itinerary that departs on October 30, 2021 and is hosted by Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestseller Foreigner novels.

In 2022, the series will continue with a crossing of the Seine “Sex & the City of Light” on July 19, 2022, hosted by Candace Bushnell, author of Sex in the city; an active cruise on the Danube “Wild & Whimsy on the Water” on July 22, 2022, hosted by Savage author Cheryl Strayed; and a navigation on the Danube on September 14, 2022 organized by Missing girl author Gillian Flynn, among many others.

In order to travel with any of its brands, including Avalon Waterways, Globus requires customers to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days prior to travel; proof of a negative PCR or COVID-19 antigen test within 72 hours of travel; or proof of recovery after a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 within three months of travel.

The company will also provide and cover the cost of any additional COVID-19 testing required for guests to return to their home country (such as the current US testing requirement for international arrivals), as well as testing during travel if the guests show symptoms.

Emerald Cruises

The Douro River in Portugal is calling.

The sleek and chic river cruise outfit Emerald Cruises will launch its 2021 European season on July 31, 2021, on the Douro River in Portugal.

The eight-day “Secrets of the Douro” cruises will make a round trip from Porto and along the terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cruise includes a day trip to the Spanish city of Salamanca, an excursion to the Coa Valley Prehistoric Museum in Pocinho, dinner at a traditional winery, and a visit to the Baroque village of Lamego. On the ship there will be, among other activities, a port cocktail lesson, a demonstration of Portuguese cuisine and painting on mosaic tiles.

Emerald Ships feature a signature pool that turns into a movie theater at night.

All guests must be fully immunized at least two weeks prior to departure.

Scenic luxury cruises and tours

Emerald’s slightly more grown-up and sophisticated sister brand, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, will also begin offering Douro River cruises in Portugal in July. Scenic will run 8 and 11 night cruises along the vineyard-lined waterway. Highlights include canoeing on the Sabor River (a tributary of the Douro) and a private concert in Porto’s historic São Francisco Church.

The itineraries can be combined with cruises on Bordeaux and on the Seine in France, or with extensions to Lisbon and Madrid.

As with Emerald, all guests must be fully immunized at least two weeks prior to departure.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Navigate the Rhône and Saône in France aboard the SS

Following the announcement of Italy and France’s intention to reopen their borders to U.S. citizens in June, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises announced plans to restart European river cruises to these two European countries shortly thereafter. .

Uniworld will resume river cruises on June 20, 2021, when it will inaugurate the newly renovated SS Venice in Italy. On June 27, Uniworld will relaunch cruises to France on its SS have a nice trip, SS Joy of living, and SS Catherine ships.

The SS Venice will sail Uniworld’s 10-day “Milan, Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy” itinerary. The SS have a nice trip will sail Uniworld’s eight-day Bordeaux cruise along the Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde rivers. The SS Joy of living will sail on the Seine for eight-day “Paris & Normandy” cruises. And the SS Catherine will sail on the Rhône and the Saône in the wine-growing and cultural regions of Burgundy and Provence.

“Restarting these routes is just the first step in getting all of our ships back on the rivers this year,” Uniworld CEO Bettridge said in a statement.

Uniworld will also unveil its new SS Sphinx river cruise ship in Egypt on September 25, and it will begin sailing the Peruvian Amazon on September 1, with two new itineraries aboard the Aria Amazon.

If you want to do ‘all of the above’ then maybe you should look into Uniworld’s epic 46-night ‘Rivers of the World’ cruise, which includes the Nile, Italy’s Venice Lagoon and the Po River. , the Danube from Budapest to Passau, the Seine in France and the Douro Valley in Portugal. The inaugural navigation takes place on May 20, 2023 and the trip starts at $ 38,999 per person.

Another unique river cruise experience worth the wait is Uniworld’s very first “Mystery Cruise”, a 10-day sailing that begins June 12, 2022 in Europe. Fares start at $ 6,999 per person, including airfare; the cruise will be hosted by Bettridge. The Mystery Cruise is a brand new itinerary for Uniworld and will offer experiences that have never been included in Uniworld trips before. Itinerary will be revealed as travelers make their way to the airport. Before take off, a packing list will be provided, along with some clues to help prepare.

A full list of Uniworld’s Europe 2021 crossings is available online.


Viking has announced that it will also resume its European river operations in July 2021, starting with crossings in Portugal and France and along the Rhine.

The cruises are an 8-day “Rhine Getaway” from Amsterdam to Basel; a 10-day “Golden River of Portugal” from Lisbon to Porto; an 8-day “Paris & the heart of Normandy” return trip from Paris; an 8-day “Lyon & Provence” from Avignon to Lyon; and a 15-day “France’s Finest”, which combines river routes from the north and south of France.

River crossings are offered exclusively to vaccinated travelers. All guests and crew will have access to frequent COVID-19 PCR testing. The cruise line said it has installed new air purification technology on all of its ships, will carry out additional health checks and disinfection measures, and promote physical distancing on board. All health and safety protocols are available online.

Viking has also relaunched oceanic cruises to England, Iceland, Bermuda and the Mediterranean and intends to announce additional crossings in 2021.

>> Next: Vaccinated Americans Can Sail To Greece In June

The products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.